The NBA playoffs have finally arrived in a thrilling and entertaining fashion! For the next couple of months, eight teams from within the Western Conference playoff picture will be fighting for their right at an NBA Championship representing the wild, wild, west. Without further ado, let’s check out our NBA odds series, where our Western Conference winner prediction and pick will be unveiled for all basketball fanatics to see.
For the first time in many years, the Western Conference playoff chase is as wide open as ever! In comparison to seasons in the past, the West doesn’t appear as strong as it has been, but by no means does this guarantee that there isn’t a plethora of talented squads that are more than deserving to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy by the time the month of June rolls around. Can the Warriors find some sort of rhythm in time to defend their title? Will the Suns live up to expectations post-Kevin Durant trade? Or will the Nuggets use their home-court advantage to march their way to their first-ever NBA Finals appearance? Buckle up basketball fans, we are in for a treat!
Here are the NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Odds: Western Conference Winner Odds
Phoenix Suns: +190
Golden State Warriors: +320
Denver Nuggets: +360
Memphis Grizzlies: +700
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Why The Suns Could Win the West
For good reason, the Phoenix Suns enter the postseason as the odds-on favorite to capture the Western Conference crown at +190. Not only were the Suns already a formidable contender before the acquisition of all-time great Kevin Durant, but now a majority of the NBA media now believes the west runs through the desert due to the 13-time All-Star now calling Phoenix his home.
On paper, the Suns depend heavily on their starting lineup after trading a good amount of their depth for KD, as not many teams in the West possess as much star power with their first five out on the floor than Phoenix. Without a doubt, it is hard to make an argument against the fact that the Suns could boast the best team in the entire league entering postseason play, but Phoenix’s one downfall could be the limited time that they been able to play together at full strength. While it may not take long for the Suns to find their chemistry, there is still a chance that they may still be figuring out how to play with one another since Durant has truly only played in eight games in the desert up to this point.
Why The Warriors Could Win the West
Without a doubt, no team in the West wants to face off with the defending champs. At first glance, the Warriors fought through injuries to their main core and managed to avoid the play-in tournament by finishing the season with a 44-38 record overall. Whether it’s punishing the opposition from beyond the three-point line with a lethal shooting dosage from the Splash Brothers, or even Draymond Green playing his usual “head games” with opponents, it surely makes sense why Golden State has the second-best-odds to make the NBA Finals. If the Warriors are going to make their seventh finals appearance in the Stephen Curry era, then a healthy Andrew Wiggins could be the deciding factor for that to come true. After only playing in 37 games on the season, the Warriors are certainly an entirely different team whenever Wiggins is thrusted into their starting lineup.
Why the Nuggets Could Win the West
From the outside looking in, the Nuggets may be one of the more “slept-on” one-seeds to grace the hard floor heading into the playoffs in recent memory. Many could point to the fact that ever since the All-Star Break, the Nuggets have somewhat limped their way to the finish line as they were barely able to hold off the Grizzlies for the top seed in the west. Nevertheless, when this Denver squad is playing at its best, few teams can beat them. It will be expected that two-time MVP winner Nikola Jokić will show up in every game he plays, as it will truly be up to the supporting cast of the Nuggets to carry the rest of the load.
Over the past couple of seasons, it has been Jokic that has solely carried this squad, but it is now time for guys like Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr, Aaron Gordon, and others to step up in a big way. On paper, the Nuggets are the best shooting team in the league statistically, and playing consistent enough defense could be enough to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals.
Why the Grizzlies Could Win the West
Coming in with the lowest odds on this list to win the Western Conference, the Grizzlies will certainly be playing with a chip on their shoulders despite being the number-two overall seed. For starters, Memphis’ chances to be the last team out west standing doesn’t bode well when you consider that the Grizzlies’ depth will definitely take a hit without the services of Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke available for play, but Memphis still boasts a once-in-a-generation type player in Ja Morant. Simply put, the Grizzlies’ chances of making a run in this postseason will fall upon the shoulders of Morant and his ability to outshine other teams’ stars in the brightest of moments.
Of course, it will definitely help if Memphis can consistently edge out teams on the glass, as it is the Grizzlies that are among one of the best rebounding squads in the league despite not having Adams available. If Memphis cannot corral a majority of the rebounds including crashing the offensive glass to generate more scoring opportunities consistently, then their lack of depth will be more glaring.
Final Western Conference Winner Prediction & Pick
With expectations as high as ever for each western conference team and its fan base, the most complete team with the best player on the planet happens to be the Denver Nuggets. After knocking on the door of possibly contending for a championship in years past, Denver is now fully healthy to make a run at their first-ever NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. By the time it is all said and done, take the Nuggets to shut the haters up and go the distance with their incredible home-court advantage.
Final Western Conference Winner Prediction & Pick: Nuggets +360
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